What Are Republicans Learning at Their Retreat, Anyway?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 17 2013 12:45 PM

What Are Republicans Learning at Their Retreat, Anyway?

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- The press is bristling a bit at its access to the House Republican retreat. First problem: There isn't really any access. Not until a 1 p.m. press event. Reporters are sequestered in a golf clubhouse a short walk away from the building where the Republicans are meeting, and they're being politely chastened by security when they try to access anything but their filing center, a restaurant, or bathrooms. (The caterwauling started when some reporters took a quick break in the golf clubhouse lobby. No dice.)

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

What we do have: The itinerary of the half-week meting. Among the panels:

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- Polling Session ("What Happened and Where Are We Now?"), featuring Dave Winston (who produced Boehner's poll which suggested that cuts-for-a-debt-limit-hike were popular), Kellyanne Conway, and the Tarrance Group's David Sackett.

- What is the Role of the Republican Majority in the 113th Congress? with Bill Kristol and the influential-among-conservatives WSJ columnist Kim Strassel.

- American Trends -- How Is America Changing?, with election prognosticator Charlie Cook.

- Who Speaks for Middle America?, with National Review's Kate O'Berine and Ramesh Ponnuru, and EPPC's Jim Capretta

- How to Communicate Principles in Today's Media Environment, with Ari Fleischer, Frank Luntz, and onetime Bachmann/Romney debate coach Brett O'Donnell.

- Common Ethics Pitfalls, with two attorneys from Wiley Rein LLP.

- Successful Communication with Minorities and Women, with a female moderator (Rachel Campos-Duffy), a female consultant (Ana Navarro), a female congressman (Rep. Jaime Herrera Buetler), and three congressmen who are neithor female nor minorities: Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Rep. Scott Rigell, and Rep. Frank Wolf.

There are two strategy sessions with leaders, too: A forum on "the next 90 days" with Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor, and a forum on policy plans for this Congress with the leaders and second-term Rep. James Lankford, the new policy chair. It'll just take a while until we report what was discussed.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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